Arizona lawmakers call for end to out-of-state lending in response to ‘Republic’s’ series on bonds

Rep. Morgan Abraham, D-Tucson, said he wants to see a change in the law to limit the board to Arizona projects, similar to Kavanagh’s stance.

By Andrew Ford | Arizona Republic

Three state lawmakers representing both major political parties pledged to work on reforms — including proposed changes to state law — following an investigation of the state’s bonding authority by The Arizona Republic.

“Obviously the article raised some yellow flags, and it’s something which we’re going to take a look at,” said senior lawmaker Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills.

The Republic revealed the Arizona Industrial Development Authority’s pattern of approving bonds that stand to make the state look foolish, including risky and out-of-state projects. Though taxpayers won’t foot the bill if the bonds go bad, the practice could jeopardize the board’s ability to draw money to needed projects if problems continue to mount.

The Republic’s bond series:Arizona’s unusual bond program

The board has approved more than $8 billion in bonds with more than half of that money flowing out of state to finance everything from a Hilton Garden Inn in Harlingen, Texas, to a parking garage in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

“I’m concerned at the mission creep at the (Arizona Industrial Development Authority),” Kavanagh said. “I think all of us thought they were concentrating on Arizona projects.” 


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December 2021